Hemisfair Park Area Redevelopment Corporation (HPARC) is a 501(c)3 non-profit established by the San Antonio City Council for the purpose of creating this spectacular public space for the whole community. HPARC’s responsibilities include acquiring property, planning, developing, constructing, managing, maintaining and financing projects at and adjacent to Hemisfair. HPARC is run by an 11-member volunteer Board of Directors approved by City Council.
HPARC currently relies on operational and capital funding from the City of San Antonio and private donations, and is expected to receive funds from additional sources such as public-private partnerships, grants, and fundraising. Lease revenues and other income streams created at Hemisfair will cover day-to-day operations, maintenance, and activation expenses. Hemisfair is projected to be financially self-sustaining by the year 2020.
Hemisfair will be constructed in phases so that we can deliver attractive public spaces quickly. Some key dates include:
- 2015: Play Escape at the southwest corner complete
- Early-2016: Convention Center expansion complete
- 2018: Civic Park opens to the public and San Antonio celebrates its Tricentennial
- 2020: Tower Park complete
Residential projects, historic structure restorations, and infrastructure improvements, including streets and parking, will be constructed in phases throughout the life of the project.
Funding for public improvements from the 2007 and 2012 Bonds will create new complete streets in and around Hemisfair as well as deliver the Play Escape. Additional funding sources, yet to be secured, will include grants, private donations, market and historic tax credits, incentives, tax increment finance, and other financing sources. Vertical development, such as residential and commercial buildings, will be designed, built and financed through public private partnerships (P3s), with lease revenues dedicated to the maintenance, operations and improvements to the public spaces.
HPARC will be responsible for programming and operation of the parks. A higher level of service is possible through revenue generated from property leases at Hemisfair. Money from these leases surrounding and sprinkled through the park will be reinvested to pay for maintenance, landscaping, operation, security, and activation of the park so that public dollars are spared—making the whole project financially self-sustaining.
Dedicated parkland at Hemisfair is being increased from 14.97 acres (which includes existing parking lots and dilapidated buildings), to at least 18.47 acres of connected and usable open public space. The removal of the western edge of the Convention Center allows Hemisfair to increase the amount of usable park space at Alamo and Market Street, one of the most pedestrian-trafficked intersections in San Antonio.
One of HPARC’s goals is to breathe new life into historic structures to play a vital role in the present. Historic homes will be restored and adapted into park amenities like cafes or book stores. Each building will be carefully assessed and follow the necessary steps to comply with Historic and Design Review Commission, Texas Historic Commission, and other city codes and ordinances.
The City of San Antonio has negotiated a land swap for the Federal Courthouse property which is pending Congressional funding for construction of a new Federal Courthouse. Until this transaction takes place, the U.S. Government will continue to occupy the Federal Courthouse.
The Institute of Texan Cultures (ITC) is owned and operated by the University of Texas system and intends to remain in its current location. For more information on their future plans, please visit their website here.
All of the existing cultural institutions will remain at Hemisfair and be incorporated into the new environment; however, some may move to newer, more accessible locations within the property. Each will be evaluated individually by the HPARC team and the organization’s leadership.
Yes!! Redevelopment will bring many more parking options for Hemisfair visitors including underground, on-street, structured, and bicycle parking. Plus, with many public transit options and pedestrian and wheelchair-friendly areas, Hemisfair will be accessible to all San Antonians.
First, streets will be designed as “Complete Streets” – ones that consider the pedestrian, bicycle, and wheelchair experience in addition to vehicular traffic. Reinstating parts of the historic street grid not only allows for better access and connectivity to park areas from surrounding neighborhoods, but also allows for several hundred on-street parking spaces and the opportunity to line the park areas with active, lively uses. Imagine strolling down an avenue with cafes and stores spilling out onto the sidewalk—these are the types of streets we will introduce.
Yes! Residential apartment units in various building densities and heights will be constructed at Hemisfair. This may include a range of types, including mixed income, a mix of uses and various densities. Residential development is a critical component to Hemisfair’s success, ensuring round-the-clock energy and security.
No. Hemisfair property is owned by the City of San Antonio and will not be sold to developers or individuals. Buildings at Hemisfair will be leased in order to pay for the maintenance and operation of the exceptional open space. Residential units will only be available for rent.
No. Hemisfair is being designed and built for San Antonio residents first and foremost, although Hemisfair will be for everyone to enjoy. Careful selection of park vendors and dining establishments is just one example of how we will keep the neighborhood authentic and local.
Think of any truly great city that you’ve ever been to. Chances are these cities have walkable urban districts with fantastic open public spaces. That is because great cities have great downtowns, and great downtowns have great urban parks. Urban parks not only improve recreation and fitness options for residents, but act as a tremendous economic generator for the whole city. New businesses pop up, property values increase, and world-class events are able to take place.
Hemisfair’s redevelopment is the most impactful downtown improvement in the next few years, is compatible with the community’s SA2020 Vision, and is a key component in preparing San Antonio to be competitive with other big cities in the future. A vibrant urban district will help attract and retain young, educated professionals as well as new corporate headquarters. Environmentally sustainable technologies will be implemented, abandoned historic homes will be restored, and hundreds of trees will be added. Additionally, San Antonio residents will have an authentic and inviting place to gather and play, dine, exercise, and recreate.
With dreams of parks and green space, civic and cultural amenities, residences and local businesses, the plan will mature our iconic center city asset into a collective space bursting with users and excitement.
HemisFair Park is the existing site of the 1968 World’s Fair in its current condition. Once the site transforms into an urban neighborhood embracing a series of three parks, history will be honored by calling the district “Hemisfair”. Hemisfair will be more than a park and will no longer be a fairground. For more information on Hemisfair’s branding, click here.